NOTE:  "This Sheriff is in violation of his Oath of Office and his Official Bond is subject to attachment!!"
Billy-Joe: Mauldin, Counselor In Law

Nevada Live Stock Association

9732 State Route 443, #350
, Nevada  89436


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                        February 14, 2006


NLSA Chairman Helen Chenoweth-Hage Questions

Sheriff’s Authority to Deputize Federal Employees

(RENO, NV) The members of the Nevada Live Stock Association were surprised to learn recently that the Eureka County Sheriff was invited to Washington D.C. to a meeting with Interior Department officials to, in part, discuss the issue of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) law enforcement on lands in NevadaAccording to news reports, an agreement was struck between the sheriff and BLM officials describing the fact that the sheriff would “deputize” the BLM employees, thus granting them law enforcement authority under his office.  Our first surprise was that the Eureka County Sheriff was involved in this issue because, one of his strongest and most ardent campaign promises was that he was not going to allow federal law enforcement by the land management agencies to occur in his county.

Now, in response to the public outcry, the sheriff attempts to assure his voters that the BLM employees will only have law enforcement authority on “fee lands”.  By that term, we surmise that he means the grazing allotments appurtenant to rancher’s base properties. However, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims ruled that these “fee lands” are lands to which the rancher has title proven by an exhaustive chain of title. 

There are still some unanswered questions the sheriff, district attorney and BLM employees should answer.

1.   By what authority does a county sheriff, who is a state official, grant law enforcement authority to a federal employee to carry out federal law enforcement on lands within the state of Nevada? 

2.      Is there a Nevada statute which morphs the county and state authority into federal authority?

3.      If there is no Nevada statute governing this extension of the county sheriff’s authority, can the county sheriff then “deputize” BLM employees to enforce state law while they are dressed in federal uniforms and using federal vehicles with all the accouterments of a law enforcement vehicle?

4.   While some federal employees may cite Article l, Section 8, Clause17 of the U.S. Constitution, it is well settled law that the land referred to in this section of the Constitution are federal enclaves.  Any lands within the state of Nevada, which would carry this designation, must first be designated as a federal enclave by the Nevada State Legislature.  This, quite simply, has not occurred on any land parcels in Eureka County, and rarely in the neighboring counties.  Therefore, where is the federal authority for BLM to patrol the “fee lands” as agreed by you and the BLM? 

5.      When a county sheriff takes the oath of office, they swore to uphold the Constitution of the state of Nevada and all of its laws thereof.  Can any individual, federal, state or county employee swear an oath to two separate and distinct governments at the same time?

6.   How much money is the Eureka County Sheriff’s Department receiving from the federal government?  How much are they receiving from Eureka County taxpayers?  Who is the Sheriff really loyal too?

It is worthy to note that the U.S. Constitution authorizes federal law enforcement of only four types of laws: 1) the counterfeiting of coin, money or value enforcement power; 2) acts of Piracies and Felonies committed on the high seas; 3) offenses against the Law of Nations, and; 4) acts of treason involving areas of federal concern.  It must be noted that the Bill of Rights and the Tenth Amendment specifically reserve to the states all powers not granted to the federal government.  For example, under BLM regulations a citizen may be imprisoned for up to 11 months and 29 days and fined a fortune WITHOUT A JURY TRIAL!  On the other hand, the Nevada Constitution guarantee’s you a jury trial, even for a $50 traffic ticket.  The Sheriff cannot surrender a citizen’s rights under the Nevada Constitution by illegally surrendering his authority to the BLM and Forest Service’s rules and regulations.

            Alexander Hamilton, the most determined nationalist of his time, explained that state governments, not the federal government, would have the power of law enforcement and that that power would play a major role in ensuring that the states were not overwhelmed by the federal government: “There is one transcendent advantage belonging to the province of the State governments, which alone suffices to place the matter in a clear and satisfactory light – I mean the ordinary administration of criminal and civil justice.”

            Local law enforcement agencies spend local tax dollars and are directly accountable to local voters.  In contrast, federal law enforcement employees spend from a vast pool of “other people’s money” and are subject, at most, to very indirect democratic control. 

            Recently, in U.S. v. Lopez, the Supreme Court reminded Congress that “states possess primary authority for defining and enforcing the criminal law.”  Four short years later the U.S. Supreme Court repeated this opinion in Prinz v. U.S.  The justices were clear in their findings: “there has never been a general grant of law enforcement authority to the federal agencies.” 

            One key reason for the growth of the false assertion of federal law enforcement in the federal land management agencies, which extend beyond our constitutional protections, has been the gullibility of the media and the public and the willingness of the federal agencies to assert powers they do not possess.  This assertion has been addressed in Nevada State Law: NRS 200.200 which states that the impersonation of a law enforcement officer is a Class “D” felony.

            I think it is time for the sheriff and the BLM to explain themselves further to a very concerned public and specifically answer the questions outlined above.


                                                            Helen Chenoweth-Hage
                                                            Nevada Livestock Association


Contacts:          Helen Chenoweth-Hage, 775.482.4187
                        Jackie Holmgren, 406.321.1215
                        Ramona Morrison, 775.424.0570

Looking at the county web site, the Sheriff of Eureka County is Larry Etter, Phone (775) 237-5330